Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Transcript - My tires about 165 bucks for the Bridgestone that fit the old Saturn family truckster. The point is, I know how much that is. When they start to get worn down, I know I have to save and have to come up with 650 bucks to get all four of them changed. Ditto that, I also know how much an oil change costs. We factor that into the way we use the car, the way we drive the car, how we possibly can derive any income out of the car. I do not know how much a swab of my daughter’s throat is going to cost if she has strep. I have no clue. I do not know, but I do know if my daughter or son goes to the eye doctor and they have to get a new set of contact lenses, I do know how much a contact lens is because I have to pay for it. I also know how much a set of eyeglasses cost. Check out today's transcript for more...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Mark is in Connecticut, up next. Mark, how are you?
Caller Mark: Great, Mike, good to talk to you again. A herd of zombies, it sounds like a reality TV show. My attempt at humor.
Mike: It’s a reality TV show about voting.
Caller Mark: I’m up here in the eye of the storm. I live right on the coast. We vacated the house and went up to high ground where the in-laws live. This morning about five in the morning I was awake anyway, so I went back down. It was nice and calm at the house. We were at low tide and I was able to go in and do a few things. I’m riding around town and there’s nobody on the roads. People are really staying home, I can tell you that. It’s pretty cool here.
Mike: They’re obeying their federal overlords. They’ve been instructed.
Caller Mark: The mayor of the town said no one will be allowed down in these areas after 7 a.m. I’m thinking to myself it’s six o’clock and I’m driving down that direction to go back to my house. I’m waiting for the conversation I might have to have with someone about whether I’m going to go back to my house or not, if you know what I mean.
Mike: Yes, I do.
Caller Mark: It didn’t happen, but you can imagine what I was thinking. On this conversation of the doctor, I’ll be 65 in January. My wife and I have a high deductible health plan with a $10,000 annual deductible. We like it. You use a health savings account and put your money aside. You definitely do think twice about what you’re going to go for. It doesn’t mean I don’t go where I need to or think it’s the time to, but I also don’t just walk in and walk out. The problem with it has been, when I do go to see a doctor and they do embark upon a test, they will do it faster than you can think.
I have a doctor, he walks by my arm, sees an open wound, and he swats it. That’s a test right there. He visits you before you even know he came by. The point is that when you ask somebody there, “What’s this for?” first of all, what happens if you test positive versus negative? What are you going to do differently? That’s the operative question, really. Second, what does this cost? The problem is, while in theory the high deductible plans would have you more personally interested, and I want to be personally interested in my medical care and the cost thereof, the system still doesn’t accommodate that because nobody can even tell you what it’s costing.
Mike: They don’t even know. Mark, here’s a trivia question you can all play along with at home. How much does a tire for your car cost?
Caller Mark: I know it very well. I just put a set of four on.
Mike: You know the cost for a tire. How much is it?
Caller Mark: For mine, it was $180 per tire.
Mike: Mine are about 165 bucks for the Bridgestone that fits the old Saturn family truckster. The point is, I know how much that is. When they start to get worn down, I know I have to save and have to come up with 650 bucks to get all four of them changed. Ditto that, I also know how much an oil change costs. An oil change, if you don’t do it yourself, if you want it done in five minutes at the five-minute joint, it costs $49.95. If you take it down to one of the other places and you’re not using synthetic oil, it costs $29 to $39.95. Sometimes you get a sale and you might get your oil changed for 20 bucks. My point is we know how much these things cost. We factor that into the way we use the car, the way we drive the car, how we possibly can derive any income out of the car. I do not know how much a swab of my daughter’s throat is going to cost if she has strep. I have no clue. I do not know, but I do know if my daughter or son goes to the eye doctor and they have to get a new set of contact lenses, I do know how much a contact lens is because I have to pay for it. I also know how much a set of eyeglasses cost.
The point is, this came up because a guy writing in the New York Slimes today is claiming -- this is why I started talking about the Walking Dead -- there’s going to be walking dead around if Romney and Ryan are elected because they’re going to savagely cut Medicaid. I just call BS on it. No one is going to cut any government. As a matter of fact, I have a story from Daniel Larison today about this. It’s just not going to happen. The fiscal cliff, whatever that may mean these days, is going to happen. When you start hearing people droning on about fixing medicine and doing this and performing that, if they don’t do the tires test, if they’re not talking to you in the terms that you and I just engage in conversation about what it actually costs, then they’re not talking about fixing it. They’re not talking about systematically altering the way that it is delivered so that it becomes costs effective and user-friendly again, and so that people are apprised of what the upkeep of their own bodies cost.
Caller Mark: When you get onto the next topic, which that doctor got onto, which was his being indentured --
Mike: He is indentured. Even though the 13th Amendment outlawed it, he’s indentured, you’re right.
Caller Mark: I happen to be an attorney and I happen to be in the insurance industry. I used to practice law. I guess I couldn’t take it anymore. I have an insurance client who’s a law firm. I go to visit them every once in a while when I want to make sure I made the right decision. I was just sitting with a lovely wife of an attorney in a small law office. They do bankruptcy practice. Of course, back in the day when I was practicing, if you took a criminal case, you were not let out of that case once you put your appearance in if you went to court. We didn’t think much about it, but you had to get your money up front. Criminal law, you’ve got to get your money up front for other reasons, too.
She says, “Mark, listen, here’s what happens. You come in and see us. We say the retainer is going to be $5,000, $10,000, whatever it’s going to be and we’ll work with you. That’s just for the services and we don’t know how long and hard it’s going to go and what things get revealed. Now the money has run out and the client can’t pay anymore.” In bankruptcy court, the court that judges are saying, “I’m sorry, attorney, you can’t get out.” In other words, you have to continue to serve that client, and you better do a good job or you’re going to get sued or grieved. You can’t get out. I said to her, “I made the right decision getting out.” My point is that I’d love to take a run at that rule from the indentured standpoint. Judges in courts have plenary and residual power to make rules, the general operation of the court. I’ll be darned how far that rule goes to where my livelihood is representing people, I undertake contractually to represent you for a fee and on terms. All of a sudden I have to keep doing it after you don’t pay me anymore?
Mike: Yes, you do. You have to keep doing it, Mark. Mark, I’ve got to run. Thank you very much for your call. What I was going to say to you, Andrew, you don’t know how much the MRI costs for your knee, but you sure know how much that kale shake costs, don’t you?
AG: That I do.
Mike: If you’re a member of a health club, you know how much your monthly membership is at Any Time Fitness or Pelican Athletic Club or Franco’s or whatever the heck the name of it is, don’t you? You budgeted this. You factor this in. This is a cost of upkeep and maintenance on your body. Don’t tell me, [mocking] “It’ll never work for medical services, Mike. It’s a good thing we got rid of it. The government had to come in.” Why not? It works just fine for other parts. You know how much it costs to get your hair cut, don’t you? I’ll give you another, and this may not be a health thing but it has to do with your body. You know how much it costs to get a tattoo. Factor that cost in.
AG: I do.
Mike: You’ve got a couple of them. I’m not knocking your tattoo, I’m just saying we have ample evidence around us to show us that the only possible method of self-regulating the cost of this thing called healthcare these days is to make it so that you have to pay for it, good old-fashioned supply and demand market economics here. That pretty much takes care of itself. Then there are tens of millions of people that aren’t as powerful as they once were. There are dozens of millions of people that are currently teat-suckling that would have to give their teat up. I’m just reading the 13th Amendment. Krugman has the zombies walking the countryside denied medical care because Romney and Ryan are elected and they savagely, in his words, cut Medicaid, which I say is not going to happen.
Amendment 13 says this, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” If you have to provide medical services to someone and if a judge advocate general tells you on behalf of Medicaid that they’re not going to pay you and you must provide the service anyway, isn’t that involuntary servitude? Doesn’t it apply?
End Mike Church Show Transcript